The Kabbalah Unveiled – Part 2

Category: Kabbalah · Posted by on · Leave a comment »
Tags: ,

The Kabbalah Unveiled

The Kabbalah Unveiled Part 1
The Kabbalah Unveiled Part 2
By S. L. McGregor Mathers

There are three qabalistical veils of the negative existence, and in themselves they formulate the hidden ideas of the Sephiroth not yet called into being, and they are concentrated in Kether, which in this sense is the Malkuth of the hidden ideas of the Sephiroth. I will explain this. The first veil of the negative existence is the AIN, Ain=Negativity. This word consists of three letters, which thus shadow forth the first three Sephiroth or numbers. The second veil is the AIN SVP, Ain Soph=the Limitless. This title consists of six letters, and shadows forth the idea of first six Sephiroth or numbers. And the third veil is AIN SVP AVR, Ain Soph Aur=the Limitless Light. This again consists of nine letters, and symbolizes the first nine Sephiroth, but of course in their hidden idea only. But when we reach the number nine we cannot progress farther without returning to the unity, or the number one, for the number ten is but a repetition of unity freshly derived from the negative, as is evident from a glance at its ordinary representation in Arabic numerals, where the circle 0 represents the Negative, and the 1 the Unity. Thus, then, the limitless ocean of negative light does not proceed from a center, for it is centerless, but it concentrates a center, which is the number one of the manifested Sephiroth, Kether, the Crown, the First Sephira; which therefore may be said to be the Malkuth or number ten of the hidden Sephiroth. Thus, “Kether is in Malkuth, and Malkuth is in Kether.” Or, as an alchemical author of great repute (Thomas Vaughan, better known as Eugenius Philalethes) says, [“Euphrates, or, The Waters of the East”] apparently quoting from Proclus: “That the heaven is in the earth, but after an earthly manner; and that the earth is in the heaven, but after a heavenly manner.” But inasmuch as negative existence is a subject incapable of definition, as I have before shown, it is rather considered by the Qabalists as depending back from the number of unity than as a separate consideration therefrom; wherefore they frequently apply the same terms and epithets indiscriminately to either. Such epithets are: “The Concealed of the Concealed,” “The Ancient of the Ancient Ones,” the “Most Holy Ancient One,” &c.

I must now explain the real meaning of the terms Sephira and Sephiroth. The first is singular, the second is plural. The best rendering of the word is “numerical emanation.” There are ten Sephiroth, which are the most abstract forms of the ten numbers of the decimal scale, i.e., the abstract forms of the ten numbers 1, 2, 3,4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Therefore, as in the higher mathematics we reason of numbers in their abstract senses, so in the Qabalah we reason of the Deity by the abstract forms of the numbers; in other words, by the SPIRVTh, Sephiroth. It was from this ancient Oriental theory that Pythagoras derived his numerical symbolic ideas.

kabbalah

Among these Sephiroth, jointly and severally, we find the development of the persons and attributes of God. Of these some are male and some are female. Now, for some reason or other best known to themselves, the translators of the Bible have carefully crowded out of existence and smothered up every reference to the fact that the Deity is both masculine and feminine. They have translated a feminine plural by a masculine singular in the case of the word Elohim. They have, however, left an inadvertent admission of their knowledge that it was plural in Gen. iv. 26; “And Elohim said: Let Us make man.” Again (v. 27), how could Adam be made in the image of the Elohim, male and female, unless the Elohim were male and female also? The word Elohim is a plural formed from the feminine singular ALH, Eloh, by adding IM to the word. But inasmuch as IM is usually the termination of the masculine plural, and is here added to a feminine noun, it gives the word Elohim the sense of a female potency united to a masculine idea, and thereby capable of producing an offspring. Now, we hear much of the Father and Son, but we hear nothing of the Mother in the ordinary religions of the day. But in the Qabalah we find that the Ancient of Days conforms Himself simultaneously into the Father and the Mother, and thus begets the Son. Now, this Mother is Elohim. Again, we are usually told that the Holy Spirit is masculine. But the word RVCh, Ruach, Spirit, is feminine, as appears from the following passage of the Sepher Yetzirah: “AChTh RVCh ALHIM ChIIM, Achath (feminine, not Achad, masculine) Ruach Elohim Chiim: One is She the Spirit of the Elohim of Life.”

Now, we find that before the Deity conformed Himself thus, i.e., as male and female that the worlds of the universe could not subsist, or, in the words of Genesis, “The earth was formless and void.” These prior worlds are considered to be symbolized by the “kings who reigned in Edom before there reigned a king in Israel,” and they are therefore spoken of in the Qabalah as the “Edomite kings.” This will be found fully explained in various parts of this work.

We now come to the consideration of the first Sephira, or the Number One, the Monad of Pythagoras. In this number are the other nine hidden. It is indivisible, it is also incapable of multiplication; divide 1 by itself and it still remains 1 multiply I by itself and it is still 1 and unchanged. Thus it is a fitting representative of the great unchangeable Father of all. Now this number of unity has a twofold nature, and thus forms, as it were, the link between the negative and the positive. In its unchangeable one-ness it is scarcely a number; but in its property of capability of addition it may be called the first number of a numerical series. Now, the zero, 0, is incapable even of addition, just as also is negative existence. How, then, if I can neither be multiplied nor divided, is another 1 to be obtained to add to it; in other words, how is the number 2 to be found? By reflection of itself. For though 0 be incapable of definition, 1 is definable. And the effect of a definition is to form an Eidolon, duplicate, or image, of the thing defined. Thus, then, we obtain a duad composed of 1 and its reflection. Now also we have the commencement of a vibration established, for the number 1 vibrates alternately from changelessness to definition, and back to changelessness again. Thus, then is it the father of all numbers, and a fitting type of the Father of all things.

The name of the first Sephira is KThR, Kether, the Crown.

The Divine Name attributed to it is the Name of the Father given in Exod. iii. 4: AHIH, Eheieh, I am. It signifies Existence.

Among the Epithets applied to it, as containing in itself the idea of negative existence depending back from it are:

TMIRA DTMIRIN, Temira De-Temirin, the Concealed of the Concealed.

OThIQA DOThIQIN, Authiqa De-Authiqun, the Ancient of the Ancient Ones.

OThIQA QDIShA, Authiqa Qadisha, the Most Holy Ancient One.

OThIQA, Authiqa, the Ancient One.

OThIQ IVMIN, Authiq Iomin, the Ancient of Days.

It is also called: NQDH RAShVNH, Nequdah Rashunah, the Primordial Point.

NQDH PShVTh, Nequdah Peshutah, the Smooth Point.

RIShA HVVRH, Risha Havurah, the White Head.

RVM MOLH, Rom Meolah, the Inscrutable Height.

Besides all these there is another very important name applied to this Sephira as representing the great Father of all things. It is ARIK ANPIN, Arikh Anpin, the Vast Countenance, or Macroprosopus. Of Him it is said that He is partly concealed (in the sense of His connection with the negative existence) and partly manifest (as a positive Sephira). Hence the symbolism of the Vast Countenance is that of a profile wherein one side only of the Countenance is seen; or, as it is said in the Qabalah, “in Him all is right side.” I shall refer to this title again.

The whole ten Sephiroth represent the Heavenly Man, or Primordial Being, ADM OILAH, Adam Auilah.

Under this Sephira are classed the angelic order of ChIVTh HQDSh, Chioth Ha-Qadesh, holy living-creatures, the kerubim or sphinxes of Ezekiel’s vision and of the Apocalypse of John. These are represented in the Zodiac by the four signs, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius–the Bull, Lion, Eagle, and Man. Scorpio, as a good emblem, being symbolized by the eagle, as an evil emblem by the scorpion, and as a mixed nature by the snake.

This first Sephira contained the other nine, and produced them in succession, thus:–

The number 2, or the Duad. The name of the second Sephira is ChKMH, Chokmah, Wisdom, a masculine active potency reflected from Kether, as I have before explained. This Sephira is the active and evident Father, to whom the Mother is united, who is the number 3. This second Sephira is represented by the Divine Names, IH, Yah, and IHVH; and among the angelic hosts by AVPNIM, Auphanim, the Wheels (Ezek i.). The second Sephira is also called AB, Ab, the Father.

The third Sephira, or Triad, is a feminine passive potency, called BINH, Binah, the Understanding, who is co-equal with Chokmah. For Chokmah, the number 2 is like two straight lines which can never enclose a space, and therefore it is powerless till the number 3 forms the triangle. Thus this Sephira completes and makes evident the supernal Trinity. It is also called AMA, Ama, Mother, and AlMA, Aima, the great productive Mother, who is eternally conjoined with AB, the Father, for the maintenance of the universe in order. Therefore is she the most evident form in whom we can know the Father, and therefore is she worthy of all honour. She is the supernal Mother, co-equal with Chokmah, and the great feminine form of God, the Elohim, in whose image man and woman are created, according to the teaching of the Qabalah, equal before God. Woman is equal with man, and certainly not inferior to him, as it has been the persistent endeavour of so-called Christians to make her. Aima is the woman described in the Apocalypse (ch. xii.). This third Sephira is also sometimes called the great sea. To her are attributed the Divine names, ARALIM, Aralim, the Thrones. She is the supernal Mother, as distinguished from Malkuth, the inferior Mother, Bride, and Queen.

The number 4. This union of the second and third Sephiroth produced ChSD, Chesed, Mercy or Love also called GDVLH, Gedulah, Greatness or Magnificence; a masculine potency represented by the Divine Name AL, El, the Mighty One, and the angelic name, ChShMLIM, Chashmalim, Scintillating Flames (Ezek. iv. 4).

The number 5. From this emanated the feminine passive potency GBVRH, Geburah, strength or fortitude; or DIN, Deen, Justice; represented by the Divine Names ALHIM GBVR, and ALH, Eloh, and the angelic name ShRPIM, Seraphim (Isa. vi. 6). This Sephira is also called PChD, Pachad, Fear.

The number 6. And from these two issued the uniting Sephira, ThPARTh, Tiphareth, Beauty or Mildness, represented by the Divine Name ALVH VDOTh, Eloah Va-Daath, and the angelic names, ShNANIM Shinanim,(Ps. lxviii. 18), or MLKIM, Melakim, kings. Thus by the union of justice and mercy we obtain beauty or clemency, and the second trinity of the Sephiroth is complete. This Sephira, or “Path,” or “Numeration”–for by these latter appellations the emanations are sometimes called–together with the fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, and ninth Sephiroth, is spoken of as ZOIR ANPIN, Zauir Anpin, the Lesser Countenance, or Microprosopus. The sixth Sephiroth of which Zauir Anpin is composed, are then called His six members. He is also called MLK, Melekh, the King.

The number 7. The seventh Sephira is NTzCh, Netzach, or Firmness and Victory, corresponding to the Divine Name IHVH TzBAVTh, Jehovah Tzabaoth, the Lord of Armies, and the angelic names ALHIM, Elohim, gods, and ThRShIShIM, Tharshisim, the brilliant ones (Dan. x. 6).

The number 8. Thence proceeded the feminine passive potency HVD, Hod, Splendour, answering to the Divine Name ALHIM TzBAVTh, Elohim Tzabaoth, the Gods of Armies, and among the angels to BNI ALHIM, Beni Elohim, the Sons of the Gods (Gen. vi. 4).

The number 9. These two produced ISVD, Yesod, the Foundation or Basis, represented by AL ChI, El Chai, the Mighty Living One, and ShDI, Shaddai, and among the angels by AShIM, Aishim, the Flames (Ps. civ. 4), yielding the third Trinity of the Sephiroth.

The number 10. From this ninth Sephira came the tenth and last, thus completing the decad of the numbers. It is called MLKVTh, Malkuth, the Kingdom, and also the Queen, Matrona, the inferior Mother, the Bride of Microprosopus; and ShKINH, Shekinah, represented by the Divine Name ADNI, Adonai, and among the angelic hosts by the KRVBIM Kerubim. Now, each of these Sephiroth will be to a certain degree androgynous, for it will be feminine or receptive with regard to the Sephira which immediately precedes it in the Sephirotic scale, and masculine or transmissive with regard to the Sephira which immediately follows it. But there is no Sephira anterior to Kether, nor is there a Sephira which succeeds Malkuth. By these remarks it will be understood how Chokmah is a feminine noun, though marking a masculine Sephira. The connecting-link of the Sephiroth is the Ruach, spirit, from Mezla, the hidden influence.

I will now add a few more remarks on the qabalistical meaning of the term MThQLA, Metheqela, balance. In each of the three trinities or triads of the Sephiroth is a duad of opposite sexes, and uniting intelligence which is the result. In this, the masculine and feminine potencies are regarded as the two scales of the balance, and the uniting Sephira as the beam which joins them. Thus, then, the term balance may be said to symbolize the Triune, Trinity in Unity, and the Unity represented by the central point of the beam. But again, in the Sephiroth there is a triple Trinity, the upper, lower, and middle. Now, these three are represented thus: the Supernal, or highest, by the Crown, Kether; the middle by the King, and the inferior by the Queen; which will be the greatest trinity. And the earthly correlatives of these will be the primum mobile, the Sun and the Moon. Here we at once find alchemical symbolism.

Now in the world the Sephiroth are represented by:

(1) RAShITh HGLGLIM, Rashith Ha-Galgalim, the commencement of the whirling motions, the Primum Mobile. (2) MSLVTh, Masloth, the sphere of the Zodiac. (3) ShBThAI, Shabbathai, rest, Saturn.(4) TzDQ, Tzadeq, righteousness, Jupiter. (5) MADIM, Madim, vehement strength, Mars. (6) ShMSh, Shemesh, the solar light, the Sun. (7) NVGH, Nogah, glittering splendour, Venus. (8) KVKB, Kokab, the stellar light, Mercury. (9) LBNH, Levanah, the lunar flame, the Moon. (10) ChLM ISVDVTh, Cholom Yesodoth, the breaker of the foundations, the elements.

The Sephiroth are further divided into three pillars the right-hand Pillar of Mercy, consisting of the second, fourth, and seventh emanations; the left-hand Pillar or Judgment, consisting of the third, fifth, and eighth; and the middle Pillar of Mildness, consisting of the first, sixth, ninth, and tenth emanations.

In their totality and unity the ten Sephiroth represent the archetypal man, ADM QDMVN, Adam Qadmon, the Protogonos. In looking to the Sephiroth constituting the first triad, it is evident that they represent the intellect; and hence this triad is called the intellectual world, OVLM MVShKL, Olahm Mevshekal. The second triad corresponds to the moral world, OVLM MVRGSh, Olahm Morgash. The third represents power and stability, and is therefore called the material world, OVLM HMVTBO, Olahm Ha-Mevetbau. These three aspects are called the faces, ANPIN, Anpin. Thus is the tree of life, OTz ChIIM, Otz Chiim, formed; the first triad being placed above, the second and third below, in such a manner that the three masculine Sephiroth are on the right, three feminine on the left, whilst the four uniting Sephiroth occupy the center. This is the qabalistical Tree of Life, on which all things depend. There is considerable analogy between this and the tree Yggdrasil of the Scandinavians.

I have already remarked that there is one trinity which comprises all the Sephiroth, and that it consists of the Crown, the King, and the Queen. (In some senses this is similar to the Christian Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which in their highest divine nature are symbolized by the first three Sephiroth, Kether, Chokmah, and Binah.) It is the Trinity which created the world, or, in qabalistic language, the universe was born from the union of the crowned King and Queen. But according to the Qabalah, before the complete form of the heavenly man (the ten Sephiroth) was produced, there were certain primordial worlds created, but these could not subsist, as the equilibrium of balance was not yet perfect, and they were convulsed by the unbalanced forces and destroyed. These primordial worlds are called the “kings of ancient time,” and the “kings of Edom who reigned before the monarchs of Israel.” In this sense, Edom is the world of unbalanced force, and Israel is the balanced Sephiroth (Gen. xxxvi. 31). This important fact, that worlds were created and destroyed prior to the present creation, is again and again reiterated in the Zohar.

Now the Sephiroth are also called the World of Emanations, or the Atziluthic World, or archetypal world, OVLM ATzILVTh, Olahm Atziloth; and this world gave birth to three other worlds, each containing a repetition of the Sephiroth, but in a descending scale of brightness.

The second world is the Briatic world, OVLM HBRIAH, Olahm Ha-Briah, the world of creation, also called KVRSIA, Khorsia, the throne. It is an immediate emanation from the world of Atziluth, whose ten Sephiroth are reflected herein, and are consequently more limited, though they are still of the purest nature, and without any admixture of matter.

The third is the Yetziratic world, OVLM HITzIRH, Olahm Ha-Yetzirah, or world of Formation and of angels, which proceeds from Briah, and though less refined in substance, is still without matter. It is in this angelic world where those intelligent and incorporeal beings reside who are wrapped in a luminous garment, and who assume a form when they appear unto man.

The fourth is the Assiatic world, OVLM HOShIH, Olahm Ha-Assiah, the World of Action, called also the world of shells, OVLM HQLIPVTh, Olahm Ha-Qliphoth, which is this world of matter, made up of the grosser elements of the other three. In it is also the abode of the evil spirits which are called “the shells” by the Qabalah, Qliphoth, material shells. The devils are also divided into ten classes, and have suitable habitations.

The Demons are the grossest and most deficient of all forms. Their ten degrees answer to the decad of the Sephiroth, but in inverse ratio, as darkness and impurity increase with the descent of each degree. The two first are nothing but absence of visible form and organization. The third is the abode of darkness. Next follow seven Hells occupied by those demons which represent incarnate human vices, and torture those who have given themselves up to such vices in earth-life. Their prince is SMAL, Samael, the angel of poison and of death. His wife is the harlot, or woman of whoredom AShTh ZNVNIM, Isheth Zenunim; and united they are called the Beast, CHIVA, Chioa. Thus the infernal trinity is completed, which is, so to speak, the averse and caricature of the supernal Creative One. Samael is considered to be identical with Satan.

The name of the Deity, which we call Jehovah, is in Hebrew a name of four letters, IHVH; and the true pronunciation of it is known to very few. I myself know some score of different mystical pronunciations of it. The true pronunciation is a most secret arcanum, and is a secret of secrets. “He who can rightly pronounce it, causeth heaven and earth to tremble, for it is the name which rusheth through the universe.” Therefore when a devout Jew comes upon it in reading the Scripture, he either does not attempt to pronounce it, but instead makes a short pause, or else he substitutes for it the name Adonai, ADNI, Lord. The radical meaning of the word is “to be,” and it is thus, like AHIH, Eheieh, a glyph of existence. It is capable of twelve transpositions, which all convey the meaning of “to be”; it is the only word that will bear so many transpositions without its meaning being altered. They are called the “twelve banners of the mighty name,” and are said by some to rule the twelve signs of the Zodiac. These are the twelve banners: IHVH, IHHV, IVHH, HVHI, HVIH, HHIV, VHHI, VIHH, VHIH, HIHV, HIVH, HHVI. There are three other Tetragrammatic names, which are AHIH, Eheieh, existence; ADNI, Adonai, Lord; and AGLA Agla. This last is not, properly speaking, a word, but is a notariqon of the sentence, AThH GBVR LOVLM ADNI, Ateh Gebor Le-Olahm Adonai: “Thou art mighty for ever, O Lord!” An arbitrary interpretation of Agla is this: A, the one first; A, the one last; G, the Trinity in Unity; L, the completion of the Great Work.

The first thing we notice is that both AHIH and IHVH convey the idea of existence; this is their first analogy. The second is, that in each the letter H comes second and fourth; and the third is that by Gematria AHIH equals IHY without the H (which, as we shall see presently, is the symbol of Malkuth, the tenth Sephira). But now, if they be written one above the others, thus, within the arms of a cross,

AH IH IH VH

they read downwards as well as across, AHIH, IHVH.

Now, if we examine the matter qabalistically we shall find the reason of these analogies. For Eheieh, AHIH, is the Vast Countenance, the Ancient One, Macroprosopus, Kether, the first Sephira, the Crown of the Qabalistical Sephirotic greatest Trinity (which consists of the Crown, King, and Queen; or Macroprosopus, Microprosopus and the Bride), and the Father in the Christian acceptation of the Trinity.

But IHVH, the Tetragrammaton, as we shall presently see, contains all the Sephiroth with the exception of Kether, and specially signifies the Lesser Countenance, Microprosopus, the King of the qabalistical Sephirotic greater Trinity, and the Son in His human incarnation, in the Christian interpretation of the Trinity.

Therefore, as the Son reveals the Father, so does IHVH, Jehovah, reveal AHIH, Eheieh.

And ADNI is the Queen “by whom alone Tetragrammaton can be grasped,” whose exaltation into Binah is found in the Christian assumption of the Virgin.

The Tetragrammaton IHVH is referred to the Sephiroth, thus: the uppermost point of the letter Yod, I, is said to refer to Kether; the letter I itself to Chokmah, the father of Microprosopus; the letter H, or “the supernal He,” to Binah and supernal Mother; the letter V to the next six Sephiroth, which are called the six members of Microprosopus (and six is the numerical value of V, the Hebrew Vau); lastly, the letter H, the “inferior He,” to Malkuth, the tenth Sephira, the bride of Microprosopus.

Now, there are four secret names referred to the four worlds of Atziloth, Briah, Yetzirah, and Assiah; and again, the Tetragrammaton is said to go forth written in a certain manner in each of these four worlds. The secret name of Atziloth is OB Aub; that of Briah is SG Seg; that of Yetzirah is MH Mah; and that of Assiah is BN Ben. [BN, Ben means “son”.].

These names operate together with the Sephiroth through the “231 gates, as combinations of the alphabet are called; but it would take too much space to go fully into the subject here.

Closely associated with the subject of the letters of the Tetragrammaton is that of the four Kerubim, to which I have already referred in describing the first Sephira. Now it must not be forgotten that these forms in Ezekiel’s vision support the throne of the Deity, whereon the Heavenly Man is seated–the Adam Qadmon, the Sephirotic image; and that between the throne and the living creatures is the firmament. Here then we have the four worlds–Atziloth, the deific form; Briah, the throne; Yetzirah, the firmament; Assiah, the Kerubim. Therefore the Kerubim represent the powers of the letters of the Tetragrammaton on the material plain; and the four represent the operation of the four letters in each of the four worlds. Thus, then, the Kerubim are the living forms of the letters, symbolized in the Zodiac by Taurus, Leo, Aquarius, and Scorpio, as I have before remarked.

And “the mystery of the earthly and mortal man is after the mystery of the supernal and immortal One; and thus was he created in the image of God upon earth. In the form of the body is Tetragrammaton found. The head is I, the arms and shoulders are like H, the body is V, and the legs are represented by the H final. Therefore, as the outward form of man corresponds to the Tetragrammaton, so does the animating soul correspond to the ten Sephiroth; and as these find their ultimate expression in the trinity of the Crown, the King, and the Queen, so is there a principal triple division of the soul. Thus, then, the first is Neschamah NShMH, which is the highest degree of being, corresponding to the crown (Kether), and representing the highest triad of the Sephiroth, called the intellectual world. The second is Ruach, RVCh, the seat of good and evil, corresponding to Tiphareth, the moral world. And the third is Nephesch, NPSh, the animal life and desires, corresponding to Yesod, and the material and sensuous world. All souls are pre-existent in the world of emanations, and are in their original state androgynous, but when they descend upon earth they become separated into male and female, and inhabit different bodies; if therefore in this mortal life the male half encounters the female half, a strong attachment springs up between them, and hence it is said that in marriage the separated halves are again conjoined; and the hidden forms of the soul are akin to the Kerubim.

But this foregoing triple division of the soul is only applicable to the triple form of the intellectual, moral and material. Let us not lose sight of the great qabalistical idea, that the trinity is always completed by and finds its realization in the quaternary; that is, IHV completed and realized in IHVH–the trinity of

Crown; King; Queen; Father; Son; Spirit; Absolute; Formation; Realization;

This is completed by the quaternary of–

Absolute One Father and Son Bride Mother Macroprosopus, Vast Father and Microprosopus, the Malkuth, the Countenance Mother Lesser Countenance Queen and Bride Atziluth – Archetypal Briah – Yetzirah – Formative Assiah – Creative Material

 

And to these four the soul answers in the following four forms:–Chiah to Atziluth; Neschamah to Briah; Ruach to Yetzirah; and Nephesch to Assiah.

But Chiah is in the soul the archetypal form analogous to Macroprosopus. Wherefore Neschamah, Ruach, and Nephesch represent as it were by themselves the Tetragrammaton, without Chiah, which is nevertheless symbolized “in the uppermost point of the I, Yod,” of the soul; As Macroprosopus is said to be symbolized by the uppermost point of the I, yod, of IHVH. For “yod of the Ancient One is hidden and concealed.”

I select the following résumé of the qabalistical teachings regarding the nature of the soul from Eliphaz Levi’s “Clef des Mystéres,” This gives the chief heads of the ideas of Rabbi Moses Korduero and of Rabbi Yitzchaq Loria. “The soul is a veiled light. This light is triple: “Neschamah=the pure spirit; “Ruach = the soul or spirit; “Nephesch=the plastic mediator.

“The veil of the soul is the shell of the image. “The image is double because it reflects alike the good and the evil angel of the soul. “Nephesch is immortal by renewal of itself through the destruction of forms; “Ruach is progressive through the evolution of ideas; “Neschamah is progressive without forgetfulness and without destruction.

“There are three habitations of souls:– ”The Abyss of Life; “The superior Eden; “The inferior Eden.”

“The image Tzelem is a sphinx which propounds the enigma of life. “The fatal image (i.e., that which succumbs to the outer) endows Nephesch with his attributes, but Ruach can substitute the image conquered by the inspirations of Neschamah. “The body is the veil of Nephesch, Nephesch is the veil of Ruach, Ruach is the veil of the shroud of Neschamah. “Light personifies itself by veiling itself, and the personification is only stable when the veil is perfect. “This perfection upon earth is relative to the universal soul of the earth (i.e., as the macrocosm or greater world, so the microcosm or lesser world, which is man).

“There are three atmospheres for the souls. “The third atmosphere finishes where the planetary attraction of the other worlds commences. “Souls perfected on this earth pass on to another station. “After traversing the planets they come to the sun; then they ascend into another universe and recommence their planetary evolution from world to world and from sun to sun.

“In the suns they remember, and in the planets they forget. “The solar lives are the days of eternal life, and the planetary lives are the nights with their dreams.

“Angels are luminous emanations personified, not by trial and veil, but by divine influence and reflex. “The angels aspire to become men, for the perfect man, the man-God, [as distinguished from the God-man] is above every angel.

“The planetary lives are composed of ten dreams of a hundred years each, and each solar life is a thousand years; therefore is it said that a thousand years are in the sight of God as one day.

“Every week-that is, every fourteen thousand years-the soul bathes itself and reposes in the jubilee dream of forgetfulness. “On waking therefrom it has forgotten the evil and only remembers the good.”

In the accompanying plate of the formation of the soul there will be seen in the upper part three circles, representing the three parts known as Neschamah, Ruach, and Nephesch. From Ruach and Nephesch, influenced by the good aspirations ot Neschamah, proceeds Michael, the good angel of the soul; that is to say, the synthetical hieroglyph of the good ideas, or, in the esoteric Buddhist phraseology, the “Good Karma” of a man. From Nephesch dominating Ruach, and uninfluenced by the good aspirations of Neschamah, proceeds Samäel, the evil angel of the soul; that is to say, the synthetical hieroglyph of the evil ideas, the “evil Karma” of a man. And the Tzelem, or image, is double, for it reflects alike Michael and Samäel.

The following is Dr. Jellinek’s analysis [“Beiträge zau Geschichte der Kabbalah, Erstes Heft.” Leipzig. 1852.] of the sephirotic ideas, according to the ethics of Spinoza:–

(1.) DEFINITION.–By the Being who is the cause and governor of all things I understand the Ain Soph–i.e., a Being infinite, boundless, absolutely identical with itself, united in itself, without attributes, will, intention, desire, thought, word, or deed.

(2.) DEFINITION.–By Sephiroth I understand the potencies which emanated from the Absolute, Ain Soph, all entities limited by quantity, which, like the will, without changing its nature, wills diverse objects that are the possibilities of multifarious things.

I. PROPOSITION–The primary cause and governor of the world is the Ain Soph, who is both immanent and transcendent.

(a) PROOF.–Each effect has a cause, and everything which has order and design has a governor.

(b) PROOF.–Everything visible has a limit, what is limited is finite, what is finite is not absolutely identical; the primary cause of the world is invisible, therefore unlimited, infinite, absolutely identical–i.e., he is the Ain Soph.

(c) PROOF.–As the primary cause of the world is infinite, nothing can exist without (EXTRA) him; hence he is immanent.

Scholion.–As the Ain Soph is invisible and exalted, it is the root of both faith and unbelief.

II. PROPOSITION.–The Sephiroth are the medium between the absolute Ain Soph and the real world.

PROOF.–As the real world is limited and not perfect, it cannot directly proceed from the Ain Soph: still the Ain Soph must exercise his influence over it, or his perfection would cease. Hence the Sephiroth, which, in their intimate connection with the Ain Soph, are perfect, and in their severance are imperfect, must be the medium.

 

Scholion.–Since all existing things originated by means of the Sephiroth, there are a higher, a middle, and a lower degree of the real world. (Vide infra, Proposition VI.)

III.-PROPOSITION.–There are ten intermediate Sephiroth.

PROOF.–All bodies have three dimensions, each of which repeats the other (3 x 3); and by adding thereto space generally, we obtain the number ten. As the Sephiroth are the potencies of all that is limited they must be ten.

(a) Scholion.–The number ten does not contradict the absolute unity of the Ain Soph; as one is the basis of all numbers, plurality proceeds from unity, the germs contain the development, just as fire, flame, sparks, and colour have one basis, though they differ from one another.

(b) Scholion.–Just as cogitation or thought, and even the mind as a cogitated object, is limited, becomes concrete, and has a measure, although pure thought proceeds from the Ain Soph; so limit, measure, and concretion are the attributes of the Sephiroth.

IV. PROPOSITION.–The Sephiroth are emanations, and not creations.

I. PROOF.–As the absolute. Ain Soph is perfect, the Sephiroth proceeding therefrom must also be perfect hence they are not created.

2. PROOF.–All created objects diminish by abstraction; the Sephiroth do not lessen, as their activity never ceases; hence they cannot be created.

 

Scholion.–The first Sephira was in the Ain Soph as a power before it became a reality; then the second Sephira emanated as a potency for the intellectual world; and afterwards the other Sephiroth emanated for the moral and material worlds. This, however, does not imply a prius and posterius, or a gradation in the Ain Soph, but just as a light whose kindled lights, which shine sooner and later, and variously, so it embraces all in a unity.

V. PROPOSITION.–The Sephiroth are both active and passive (MQBIL VMThQBL, Meqabil Va-Metheqabel).

PROOF.–As the Sephiroth do not set aside the unity of the Ain Soph, each one of them must receive from its predecessor and impart to its successor–i.e., be receptive and imparting.

VI. PROPOSITION.–The first Sephira is called Inscrutable Height, RVM MOLH, Rom Maaulah; the second, Wisdom, ChKMH, Chokmah; the third, Intelligence, BINH, Binah; the fourth, Love, ChSD, Chesed; the fifth, Justice, PcHD, Pachad; the sixth, Beauty, ThPARTh, Tiphereth; the seventh, Firmness, NTzCh, Netzach; the eighth, Splendour, HVD, Hod; the ninth, the Righteous is the Foundation of the World, TzDIQ ISVD OVLM, Tzediq Yesod Olahm; and the tenth, Righteousness, TzDQ, Tzedeq.

(a) Scholion.–The first three Sephiroth form the world of thought ; the second three the world of soul and the four last the world of body; thus corresponding to the intellectual, moral, and material worlds.

(b) Scholion.–The first Sephira stands in relation to the soul, inasmuch as it is called a Unity, IChIDH, Yechidah; the second, inasmuch as it is denominated living, ChIH, Chiah; the third, inasmuch as it is termed Spirit, RVCh, Ruach; the fourth, inasmuch as it is called vital principle, NPSh, Nephesch; the fifth, inasmuch as it is denominated soul, NShMH, Neschamah; the sixth operates on the blood, the seventh on the bones, the eighth on the veins, the ninth on the flesh, and the tenth on the skin.

(c) Scholion.–The first Sephira is like the concealed light, the second like sky-blue, the third like yellow, the fourth like white, the fifth like red, [This mixture of white and red refers to Microprosopus, as will be seen in the greater and lesser Holy Assembly.] the sixth like white-red, the seventh like whitish-red, the eighth like reddish white, the ninth like white-red whitish-red reddish-white, and the tenth is like the light reflecting all colours.

I will now revert to the subject of Arikh Anpin and Zauir Anpin, the Macroprosopus and the Microprosopus, or the Vast and the Lesser Countenances. Macroprosopus is, it will be remembered, the first Sephira, or Crown Kether; Microprosopus is composed of six of the Sephiroth. In Macroprosopus all is light and brilliancy; but Microprosopus only shineth by the reflected splendour of Macroprosopus. The six days of creation correspond to the six forms of Microprosopus. Therefore the symbol of the interlaced triangles, forming the six-pointed star, is called the Sign of the Macrocosm, or of the creation of the greater world, and is consequently analogous to the two Countenances of the Zohar. This, however, is not the only occult reason that I have placed this symbol in the plate, for it typifies other reasons upon which I shall not enter here. “The Book of Concealed Mystery” fully discusses the symbolism of Macroprosopus and Microprosopus; therefore it is well, before reading it, to be cognizant of their similarities and differences. The one is AHIH, Eheieh; the other is the V, Vau, of the Tetragrammaton. The first two letters, I and H, Yod and He, are the Father and Mother of Microprosopus, and the H final is his Bride. But in these forms is expressed the equilibrium of Severity and Mercy; Severity being symbolized by the two Hs, Hes, the Mother and the Bride, but especially by the latter. But while the excess of Mercy is not an evil tendency, but rather conveys a certain idea of weakness and want 6f force, too great an excess of Severity calls forth the executioner of judgment, the evil and oppressive force which is symbolized by Leviathan. Wherefore it is said, “Behind the shoulders of the Bride the serpent rears his head:” of the Bride, but not of the Mother, for she is the Supernal H, and bruises his head. “But his head is broken by the waters of the great sea.” The sea is Binah, the Supernal H, the Mother. The serpent is the centripetal force, ever seeking to penetrate into Paradise (the Sephiroth), and to tempt the Supernal Eve (the bride), so that in her turn she may tempt the Supernal Adam (Microprosopus).

It is utterly beyond the scope of this Introduction to examine this symbolism thoroughly, especially as it forms the subject of this work; so I will simply refer my reader to the actual text for further elucidation, hoping that by the perusal of this introductory notice he will be better fitted to understand and follow the course of qabalistic teaching there given.

The Kabbalah Unveiled Part 1
The Kabbalah Unveiled Part 2
Authors Details: S. L. McGregor Mathers

Tags: ,

About Aymen Fares:

Aymen Fares is an Intuitive Life Coach, Speaker and Author with clients all over the world. He is based in Melbourne Australia and is the editor of this web site. Find out more about Life Coaching with Aymen or join one of his Workshops by clicking on the link “Aymen Fares” above.

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)